Dazed and confused
Trip Start May 23, 2006
10Trip End Aug 02, 2006
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I've been in Amsterdam for what feels like forever now, and far more has happened than I can decently include in a travel email, especially given that the sun is shining and van gogh is beckoning outside. But as I wait for my travel companion (Lisa) to figure out if she can come to Berlin with me, I'll do my best to give you all the nutshell version of the latest adventures.
After another night in Brussels, I was very ready to leave, so the Scots and Lisa and I had another gourmet breakfast of bread and cheese, and then we trekked through the miserable rain and cold in Belgium to the train station (on an unrelated note, I am in the hostel bar right now, and a chorus of "Happy Hour!" just arose from the bar, so this entry might be even shorter). The train was reasonably uneventful, and we got into Amsterdam without problems.
Once we got there, there was a tiny bit of sunshine so we decided to capitalize on it and try to walk to the hostel. Little did we realize that "uptown" meant an hour walk from the station, but we stopped for some falafel in a sketchy street that we could likely never find again, and pet the store cat, so we were well fortified for our journey. After checking in, we went to the Anne Frank Museum first which was absolutely incredible (or as one of my roommates described it ä total downer"). It was so strange to see the actual attic where she and her family lived, after reading and learning about it for so many years of my childhood.
From there, we went for a bit of an upper as we went shopping like our lives depended on it. Given that I'm in desperate need of new socks (no Mom, I didn't pack enough in the end, but I managed to survive thus far regardless), I found a place selling 10 for 10 euro, but I only wanted 5. The woman was going to charge me the regular price of 2 euro per pair, but while I was pondering whether I wanted the other 5 as well, she started counting in Hebrew. So I responded in Hebrew, and negotiated the price down to 5 for 5, which she gave to me because it was Chag this weekend. Very exciting.
We just chilled at the hostel bar for a while that night, then were escorted by some American guys for a walk through the red light district here. Really, that defies description. It was the strangest experience in my life, on the one hand I was looking around as though everything was fake and pretend for the tourists, but then every now and again you'd see windows with closed curtains, and I realized that these women really were selling sex. I still don't really know how I feel about the whole experience, but it was really quite a bizarre way to end my first day here.
Yesterday was another busy day, we went on a bike tour and to a cheese farm, where a crazy farmer may or may not have proposed to Lisa, and offered her a clog. We decided instead to buy cheese, and then split crackers, olives and sundried tomatos and a few bottles of wine with the Australian boys we'd been hanging out with, and had a glorious perfect wonderful picnic in the afternoon. We got noodles from takeout chinese for dinner, then went on a pub crawl till probably around 4 in the morning. It was pretty full-on but really a good time.
Today we slept in, then napped in the park after a wander through the streets. I'm off to see the van gogh museum now, and to Berlin tomorrow.
I hope you are all doing well, and keep in touch!